Rising Demand and Salaries for Data Scientists

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By: Tekla S. Perry

Back in August, a LinkedIn analysis concluded that the United States is facing a significant shortage of data scientists, a big change from a surplus in 2015. This week, job-search firm Indeed reported that its data indicates the shortage is getting worse: While more job seekers are interested in data-science jobs, the number of job postings from employers has been rising faster than the number of interested applicants.

According to Indeed, job postings for data scientists as a share of all postings were up 29 percent in December 2018 compared with December 2017, while searches were only up around 14 percent.

“The bargaining power in data science remains with the job seekers,” Andrew Flowers, Indeed economist, stated in a press release.

What exactly are data scientists? Indeed indicated that people working as data scientists typically have degrees in computer science, statistics, or a quantitative social science, along with some training in statistical modeling, machine learning, and programming.

Salaries for data scientists are up as well. Average salary in the area surrounding Houston, which topped the 2018 list when adjusted for the cost of living, climbed 16.5 percent since 2017, while the average salary in the San Francisco Bay Area, No. 2 on the adjusted list, jumped 13.7 percent over Indeed’s 2017 numbers. Only the Washington, D.C., area saw a drop. The table below shows average salaries, both raw and adjusted, for the most active regions, and the percent change in raw salaries since a year ago.

This article originally appeared in IEEE Spectrum on 17 January 2019.